2018 in review

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Happy New Year
As the year 2018 closes, it’s time for my customary review of what I wrote. It’s also time to thank every reader for participating, for reading my humble musings, for sharing my posts and sending me emails about them. I appreciate your presence and your comments.

Twenty eighteen was another good year for my blog. I wrote almost 180,000 words  and saw one-two percent more visitors than last year (although not quite as many as my best year, 2016). My best month for visitors was May; the slowest was November.

Since Jan. 1, 2012, I’ve written close to two million words on this blog  (about 1.8 million in published posts; nearly  67,000 in draft posts, the rest in pages, cutlines, coding enhancements and comments). I’ve published 1,140 posts since I began (and more than 70 are still in draft form). Of these, 108 posts were published in 2018 (the highest number was in 2014 at 220).

Nine posts were published in January; eight each in February, May, June, July and October; five each in March and April; eleven in May; twelve in August; thirteen in September and December; four in November. I started fourteen other posts that never got published this year, but some may be finished in 2019.

The longest post this year was the Timeline of the original Collus share sale, from July, weighing in at 9,300 words. It was a condensed version of the documentation I provided to the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry this year. The SVJI was a hot topic for me right from the day Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson used it to launch his mayoralty bid even before the official campaign season began. I expect the SVJI will continue to provide me fodder for comment next year as its costs to taxpayers rise and rise and rise.

The shortest post this year was a mere 259 words condemning the nasty attack-robocalls one of the mayoral candidates used in the municipal election campaign. I had once hoped such dirty tactics were beneath local candidates, but I was proven wrong: the ethical bar was set pretty low this campaign.

My most prolific month (in word count) was December at 23,450 words;  my least was November at 7,228. Average number of words per post since I began: 1,544.

In 2018, I wrote a lot about the former council this year – its continuing blunders, its egregious secrecy, it’s backroom deals, its disingenuous reports, innumerable sole-sourced contracts, and its broken promises. As a municipal government, last term was a comic debacle. Council’s actions (and inaction where they should have acted) and their self-interest instead of community concern provided plenty of fodder for comment, especially since local media refused to comment on anything that appeared unethical, hypocritical or inappropriate behaviour by council or the administration. I also commented on the loss of credibility in local media a few times.

I felt compelled to write about local issues because our local media continued to fill its pages with bland pablum instead of actual news or journalism.  We deserve better, more competent and more investigative reporting. I also tried to warn residents about the incumbents and their shenanigans before the municipal election, but my words went unheeded. Well, in a democracy you get the government you deserve. And I get to say “I told you so” a lot more the next four years.

I wrote about Donald Trump, too, and the ongoing collapse of America, although not as much as it might deserve. I have sympathy for my American friends who suffer under this man’s erratic, unstable, dishonest and frankly immoral rule. I can only hope for a return to some sort of sanity and morality in 2020 when he is replaced by a competent president and cabinet.

While I’ve always considered myself a political agnostic, with no ties to any particular party or ideology, the rise of the far right as seen in Trump and his Ontario counterpart Doug Ford or Alberta’s Jason Kenny has certainly made me less tolerant of the right in general, and much warmer to the left of late. I’ve taken to blocking people and posts on Facebook when they appeared to lean towards this sort of right wing politics or post anything from the despicable Ontario Proud or similar groups. That doesn’t mean there aren’t fools and inconsistencies on the left, just that they seem less harmful, less selfish, and more compassionate and honest than those on the right. I’ll be critical of the left, too, when they deserve it.

As usual, I also wrote about the conspiracy theories, quackery, hoaxes, New Age woo hoo, pseudoscience, pseudo-medicine, “psychics,” astrology and other claptrap that befuddles the gullible but fills the internet (as well as the pockets of the con artists who peddle it). As I age, I find I have less and less tolerance for balderdash and nonsense of this ilk, yet it seems to take more online space every year. The Great Dumbing Down is an ongoing peeve for me.

I also wrote book and movie reviews,  I wrote about opera, reading, media, literacy,  poetry, religion, international politics, computer hardware, economics, philosophy, baking bread, shaving, capitalism, the CBC, media and journalism, the 2018 municipal election campaign, grammar, Buddhism, climate change, water, miscellaneous local issues, pets, storytelling, political correctness, electoral reform, holiday music, and learning. And maybe more topics that I overlooked as I scanned the archives this morning.

I will admit to being somewhat acerbic in my comments at times. I can’t apologize if that offended anyone, however. This blog represents my opinions, some of which may not be politically correct. I can only suggest you read elsewhere if you , or can only cope with bland and don’t want something with an opinion. Like our local “news” paper for example.

However, I make every effort to post factual content to support my opinions. If you have evidence to contradict my statements, I am always open to receiving it and changing my post where necessary. And I appreciate comments – but will not tolerate or allow to be published anything misogynist, racist, sexist, homophobic,  Islamophobic or other sort of -phobic. Keep your social, sexual and emotional insecurities to yourself.

I also don’t apologize for writing about topics any reader doesn’t find interesting or even relevant. I write about what I perceive, what interests me, and what is active in my life. If you want to read something about your life,  or that suits your lifestyle better, then start your own blog. I’d like to see a world where everyone has their own blog and spends too much time writing on it to be bothered posting Facebook pictures of their meals or kittens or anything from Ontario Proud or Faux News.

And of course there were a few notable deaths in 2018, some of which that I may feel compelled to comment on in the coming weeks (for a more complete list, see Wikipedia).

As we enter 2019, it’s time for all of us to take a look back at a year of craziness, violence, instability and stupidity across the globe. I suspect like me you spent a lot of time looking at news and articles this year and shaking your head wondering how we got into such a state. What happened to civility, what happened to common sense and can we survive much more of this?

As Morgan Freeman says at the end of his video (above),  “I hope 2019 will be better; I hope people won’t do so much f*cking dumb shit.” But if they do – and I expect they will – it just means there will be no shortage of topics to weigh in on in 2019. 

Happy New Year!

 

 

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